4 Brazilian nationals, driver, 2 others arrested after jet ski used to smuggle people into Michigan

Officials saw jet skis smuggling people into Michigan

A person riding a jet ski. (Naomi Baker, 2020 Getty Images)

PORT HURON, Mich. – Four Brazilian nationals, a driver, and two others were arrested after officials saw people being smuggled across the St. Clair River into Michigan on a jet ski, authorities said.

2 men get into vehicle after crossing river

Agents flying near the Blue Water Bridge on Saturday (Aug. 20) said they noticed a jet ski carrying three people from Canada to Michigan across the St. Clair River.

It landed near Port Huron, and two men got off, according to authorities. They walked down the road and got into a vehicle, officials said.

Border Patrol agents stopped the vehicle and identified the two men as Brazilian nationals, ages 34 and 35. Authorities said both men admitted to illegally crossing into the United States.

Both men, as well as the 39-year-old U.S. citizen driving the vehicle, were taken into custody.

Jet ski returns with 2 more people

The jet ski returned to Canada after dropping off the first two men, according to authorities. A short time later, officials said they saw the same jet ski head off on the same course.

Agents saw a man and a woman get off the jet ski and walk inland, they said. When Border Patrol officials spoke to them, they admitted to illegally crossing the international border into the U.S., according to officials.

They were identified as a 47-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman. They were both Brazilian nationals, authorities said.

Charges

Police said none of the Brazilian nationals had legal status to be in the U.S.

“I could not be prouder of the men and women of Detroit Sector,” Chief Patrol Agent Robert Danley said. “These criminals made their brazen attempt on a busy weekend without regard or fear of our law-abiding community. While our strong U.S. and Canadian law enforcement partnerships facilitated a quick resolution, it cannot overshadow the role the community can play in our success. We continue to encourage the community to provide tips on suspicious activity.”

Officials worked with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and two additional people were taken into custody, according to authorities. The investigation into their involvement is ongoing.

“This is a testament to how federal and international partnerships are vital in our border security mission,” said Marc Sledge, director of the Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch. “Our agents perform an extraordinary job out there -- each and every day to protect America.”

The driver of the pick-up vehicle is charged with unlawful transportation.

The four Brazilian nationals have been charged with illegal entry into the United States.

Anyone with information about suspicious activity is asked to call Detroit Sector Border Patrol BorderWatch at 800-537-3220.


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.